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Can You Still Spread Coronavirus After Vaccination?

Coronavirus vaccination
Greek Premier Kyriakos Mitsotakis receiving his Coronavirus vaccination recently. Credit: Greek Government

After an agonizingly slow rollout of the coronavirus vaccinations in Europe, grateful recipients would like to at least be able to know if they can still spread the virus to others after they receive their inoculation.

Elias Mosialos, a noted Greek expert in the area of epidemiology, says that transmission of the virus after receiving the Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Moderna shots is reduced by 90%.

So, by his estimate, one in two out of ten recipients of the vaccines may indeed transmit the coronavirus — despite the nearly-miraculous efficacy of the vaccines.

Effects of UK vaccination campaign “tangible”

The professor of health policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), says in a recent interview that the effects of vaccines, which by now have reached an extremely impressive 60% of the adult population there, at least with a first dose, are tangible.

In an interview on Greece’s SKAI 100.3 Radio, Mosialos said that in his adopted country, the number of deaths and admissions to ICUs has indeed decreased, impressive since he states that right now, “no one is paying attention” to coronavirus measures in Britain.

The professor stated that according to his observations, less than 10% of Britons are wearing masks at present and social distancing regulations are not being complied with. And even then, despite that — the positive effects of the coronavirus vaccinations are still visible in society.

Mosaios says that indeed — just as hoped — when a person receives the coronavirus vaccines, the body will fight off any attack from the virus and will not develop severe symptoms, including respiratory failure or organ damage.

However, a minuscule amount of the virus can indeed remain in the nasal tract f the person subsequently becomes exposed to it. This tiny amount of virus can remain in the nose or mouth of a vaccinated person, and if they do cough or speak without a mask, the virus can indeed then be spread to another individual.

If both people in this situation are vaccinated, he says, “there is no problem.” However, “If one is not, you have to be careful,” he warns.

AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccination and thrombosis cases throughout the UK and Europe

Regarding the AstraZeneca vaccine and widespread cases of thrombosis reported in Europe and the UK, Mosialos cited the example of England, where there were 30 cases of serious thrombosis and seven deaths among the 18 million vaccinated individuals there.

So far, he said, neither the British health authorities nor the European Medicines Agency have certified whether these cases of thrombosis and death are related to the vaccine — but even if they are, the rate is infinitesimal.

“Thirty cases in 18 million (vaccinations) is (an anomaly). In Greece, it will be less than four or five,” he stated.

The Greek epidemiologist stressed that no patient needs to take any preparation before vaccination as a precaution, and added that the instructions issued to patients who have experienced problems should be made public.

Mosaios also said that overall, the coronavirus itself poses a much greater risk to public health, carrying with it the possibility of having to enter an ICU, the damage that may occur to organs and of course the possibility of the loss of life.

Moreover, he estimated that France’s suspension of its AstraZeneca inoculation programs has led to as many as 50 coronavirus deaths per week.

US CDC Director states “Vaccinated people do not carry the virus”

Last week, the new director of the United States Centers for Disease Control, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, raised hopes — and eyebrows — when she stated categorically that “vaccinated people do not carry the virus.”

After her remarks on the Rachel Maddow television show, a CDC spokesperson walked them back a bit, saying in an interview with the New York Times that “Dr. Walensky spoke broadly during this interview. It’s possible that some people who are fully vaccinated could get COVID-19. The evidence isn’t clear whether they can spread the virus to others. We are continuing to evaluate the evidence.”

Of course, experts all around the world continue to advise everyone to still use caution in their daily habits, including masking and social distancing.

Fully vaccinated people do not need to quarantine after exposure in the US

The CDC had previously stated officially that fully-vaccinated people do not need to quarantine after COVID-19 exposure — but this is not the same as saying that a vaccinated individual cannot pass the virus on to another person.

Last week, the CDC announced that its new study showed that the vaccines’ effectiveness holds up in a real-world setting — news which came as an enormous relief to Americans who still had lingering doubts about the true efficacy of the shots.

The study included 3,950 health care personnel, first responders, and other essential and frontline workers, whose jobs naturally placed them at much greater risk than normal for coming down with the coronavirus.

Real-world study of first-responders shows great efficacy of coronavirus vaccination

A total of 2,479 (62.8%) of the subjects of the 123-week-long study, which lasted between December 14, 2020 and March 13, 2021, received both recommended doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine and 477 (12.1%) received only one of the doses.

The subjects, from states as widespread as Arizona, Florida, Minnesota, Oregon, Texas, and Utah, were tested each week of the study, along with extra tests conducted if anybody began to feel the telltale potential symptoms of the virus.

The results indeed showed that the risk of infection was reduced by 90% among those who were fully vaccinated (with at least two weeks had passed since their second dose).

Encouragingly, partial vaccination also provided protective benefits, reducing the risk of infection by an extremely impressive 80% two weeks after receiving the first dose.

Just as importantly, this very impressive efficacy numbers include not only symptomatic infections, but also those that are asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic — perhaps the most meaningful finding of all, since so many coronavirus infections appear to have been spread by asymptomatic people.

Vaccination efforts “are working”

“This study shows that our national vaccination efforts are working. The authorized mRNA COVID-19 vaccines provided early, substantial real-world protection against infection for our nation’s health care personnel, first responders, and other frontline essential workers,” Dr. Walensky said in a statement.

“These findings should offer hope to the millions of Americans receiving COVID-19 vaccines each day and to those who will have the opportunity to roll up their sleeves and get vaccinated in the weeks ahead. The authorized vaccines are the key tool that will help bring an end to this devastating pandemic.”

While public health experts believe that this latest, real-world study suggests that vaccinated people cannot pass on the virus since they do not contract it in the first place,  the CDC needs to confirm this.

The agency states in response to these latest findings “Early data show that the vaccines may help keep people from spreading COVID-19, but we are learning more as more people get vaccinated.”

According to the CDC’s COVID Data Tracker, 165 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in the United States so far. Of the entire US population, 32.4% have received at least one dose, and an average of 18.7% have received both doses and are considered fully vaccinated.

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